- Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
- Mission: Readiness
- Champions for America's Future
- Shepherding the Next Generation
Council for a Strong America Lauds Passage of Bipartisan Budget Deal
Law enforcement, business, military, sports, and religious leaders hailed the deal as a major victory for children and families across America
WASHINGTON, DC – The passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 is a massive victory for American children and families that drew praise and support from Council for a Strong America, the national nonprofit made up of more than 9,000 members of the five organizations that comprise it, including Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, ReadyNation, Mission: Readiness, Champions for America’s Future, and Shepherding the Next Generation.
The budget agreement includes action on a number of Council for a Strong America’s key priorities to protect or expand crucial programs that support children and families and ensure our next generation grows up prepared to succeed:
The bill includes a five-year reauthorization for the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), a critical source of funding for voluntary home visiting programs in all 50 states, which had expired on September 30th, 2017. Research has shown that high-quality home visiting can reduce child abuse and neglect and lead to better outcomes for parents and children alike.
“If we can prevent child abuse and neglect, that’s a win for families and will mean less crime in the years to come,” Sheriff Rand Henderson of Montgomery County, Texas, and member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, said.
The bill further extends the recent reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Congress previously reauthorized CHIP for six years, and the new provision extends CHIP another four. That means that millions of children will have access to health insurance and important mental health coverage for the next decade, strengthening families’ financial solvency and productivity while also boosting health outcomes for kids.
“As athletes and coaches, we know how important it is to take care of one’s body and mind, and how instrumental good health is to one’s overall success. CHIP is a fundamental building block for the present and future success of America’s children,” wrote 16 elite sports leaders and members of Champions for America’s Future, led by Winter Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, in a letter to Congress.
The bill includes a $5.8 billion commitment for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG helps working families access child care and helps improve the quality of these services. This $5.8 billion commitment will allow CCDBG funding to double over each of the next two years. By doubling the amount of funding for children under five, it has been estimated that an additional 364,800 families will have access to higher quality child care.
“Like our service members, workers in every sector will be more productive if they’re unencumbered by child care worries and able to pay for child care that offers the nurturing and academic support their kids deserve,” said Major General (Ret.) Ronald O. Harrison, a member of Mission: Readiness.
Family First Prevention Services Act
The budget agreement includes the Family First Prevention Services Act. The Family First bill strengthens families by providing evidence-based prevention services to help keep children out of foster care when possible. These services would include home visiting programs, mental health services, and substance abuse services. This legislation is especially critical, as there has been a spike in foster care placements across the country due to the opioid epidemic.
“‘Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow’ Isaiah 1:17. There is no greater call to act than this. The Family First Prevention Services Act would help, by allowing states to redirect spending toward preventive services, prioritizing those programs proven to specifically help foster youth and those at-risk of entering the foster care system,” said Pastor Matt McGue, OneChurch, Ridgeland, MS, and a member of Shepherding the Next Generation.
The deal includes passage of the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act. Social impact partnerships are an innovative contracting approach for creating new public-private partnerships to address some of the most pressing social, economic, and health problems facing our country, all while ensuring that any taxpayer investment yields measurable results. These partnerships can support increased investments in key early childhood programs like home visiting and pre-k.
“The Pay for Success model is not just about structuring effective public-private partnerships and giving more at-risk children needed services. It’s meant to be a game changer in how government conducts the business of remediating and preventing society’s problems and building a productive, healthy citizenry,” said Rob Dugger, Managing Partner Hanover Provident Capital, LLC; Board Member, Council for a Strong America; Co-Founder and Advisory Board Chair, ReadyNation
A Victory for Families and Kids
Council for a Strong America thanks the many lawmakers from both parties who worked together to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This deal is a major step toward achieving the goal of making future generations and our nation stronger—a goal that Council for a Strong America and its members have worked tirelessly to achieve.
As we continue to advocate for evidence-based policies that reduce crime, bolster national security, build the future workforce, and give children the best opportunity to succeed, we celebrate this historic victory.